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Create a one-of-a-kind wedding invitation

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However, it’s quite possible to create an inexpensive, uniquely personal invitation by following a few simple suggestions from the graphic design faculty of The Art Institutes.

According to Christine David of The Art Institute of Ft. Lauderdale, “wedding invitations are the first glimpse your guests will get of your wedding. They are the perfect opportunity to set the style and tone for your big event.”

With the availability of home computers and printers, making your own wedding invitations is not only a possibility, it’s a great idea. That way, say the experts, you can customize your invitation as much as you’d like.

For example, said David, if it’s a traditional wedding, then “you wouldn’t dare go any color other than natural white/ecru, with formal wording, for example, ‘[the names of the couple], together with their parents, request the honor of your presence at their marriage.’”

If you’re a diva bride, David suggests gold ink with colorful and bold artwork. Play with the wording too, she said. For example “Love is in the air/we make a great pair! /You’re invited to attend/our wedding affair.”

For the outdoorsy, loving couple, invitations can take their inspiration from items found in nature, like shells, acorns or leaves, with raffia bows as accents. Hand-made papers work especially well with this kind of approach, said David. She offers this suggestion for invitation wording for the nature couple: “As autumn leaves/turn their brilliant hue/two lovers will join and say I do.”

Once you’ve decided the tone and theme of your invitation, it’s time to start shopping for paper. Andrea Brenner, a graphic design instructor with The New England Institute of Art & Communications, says off-white, heavy paper stock works best for formal, elegant weddings.

“No matter how small or big the wedding, choose the best quality paper you can, something that feels substantial in your hand,” she said. Unique paper styles can be found at art stores or specialty paper stores. Brenner said many of these locations have prototypes of handmade invitations for ideas and inspiration.

For paper styles, consider vellum, Strathmore natural white, Strathmore white, laid natural white, laid white or deluxe parchment.

Don’t be afraid to mix and match papers in the invitation and try layering papers for an interesting effect.

For font choices, Dan Hanners with the Visual Communications department of The Illinois Institute of Art - Schaumburg, suggests using more than one font but not more than three.

“Usually a good script font works best for headings, and a more traditional font for the body copy,” he said. Keep the font size legible. After all, said Hanners, “if you can’t read it, then Great Grandma will have difficulties as well.”

Nine-, 10- or 12-point fonts work the best. Any size over 12 can look elementary and unprofessional. Hanners recommends scouting the Internet for fonts and downloading them for your home computer use.

Color can make a big impact on an invitation. Kim Lyles, a graphic design instructor with The Art Institute of Philadelphia, said colors are “purely an artistic choice, but you want whatever colors you select to be aesthetically pleasing.”

For ideas, there are “color books” that can help you to select the right color choices for your invitation.

For printing your own invitations, home computers and printers offer many options. If you’re not comfortable creating your own artwork, design experts suggest downloading clip art images (clipart.com, or use a search engine to locate other sources) or photography.

Gwendolyn Lewis Huddleston, the academic director of graphic design for The Art Institute of California - San Francisco has created wedding invitations that have used a couple’s picture or photos of their rings. “I’ve also incorporated flowers that the bride was using in her wedding, as well as created a logo type imagery which married the letters of the couple’s names,” said Huddleston.

Once you’ve made the creative decisions, keep an eye on your budget. “Even if you’re creating your own invitation, you’ll be surprised how quickly costs can start to add up, “ said Chris David from The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale.

Before making final decisions, be sure to factor in reception cards, response cards and postage. Depending on the extras in an invitation (directions to the reception, for example), the price of the invitation can double or triple. To be sure of the costs, David recommends taking an invitation, pre-stuffed, to the post-office to be weighed.

Finally, Kim Lyles of The Art Institute of Philadelphia said that if you haven’t gone over budget on your invitation, consider adding an extra personal touch by, for example, incorporating a CD, pressed flowers, confetti, poems, photos or ribbons to your invite.

“There’s more than one way to create and fold your materials into an invitation -- don’t be afraid to experiment,” said Lyles.

After all, every invitation should be as unique and memorable as the couple that sent it.

- Courtesy of ARA Content

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